Wife of freed Cuban spy gives birth after artificial insemination

The seeds of U.S.-Cuba diplomacy have born fruit.

The wife of a Cuban spy freed by the United States three weeks ago gave birth to a daughter in Havana on Tuesday, the result of efforts to bring about a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations that included an unusual case of artificial insemination.

Adriana Pérez, the 44-year-old wife of convicted spy Gerardo Hernández, gave birth to a 7.7-pound girl in Havana.

“At 8:30 this morning, Jan. 6, Gema Hernández Pérez, the daughter of Gerardo Hernández Nordelo y Adriana Pérez O’Connor, was born in Havana,” the website announced.

It said that Hernández, who’d served more than 16 years in a U.S. prison before his release Dec. 17 as part of a prisoner swap, reported that his daughter “was very pretty.”

The tale of the artificial insemination may go down in the annals of spy craft and diplomacy as one of its most unusual chapters.

Hernández was serving two life sentences in a federal prison in California for leading the Wasp Network of Cuban spies when his wife, also a member of the Cuban intelligence community, approached U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and expressed fear that she was nearing the end of her fertile years without children.

According to Leahy, Pérez made a personal appeal that her husband’s sperm be taken to her in Havana.

Leahy worked with the Obama administration to arrange the artificial insemination. On the second attempt, Pérez became pregnant.

When Hernández and two other convicted Cuban spies touched down in Havana on Dec. 17, his very pregnant wife greeted him, setting tongues wagging over the child’s paternity. U.S. officials then acknowledged their role in the pregnancy.

In exchange for the three Cuban spies, Havana released a jailed Cuban intelligence asset of the United States, later identified as Rolando Sarraff. It also freed Alan Gross, a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development who’d been jailed for five years.

The same day of the prisoner swap, President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro announced that they’d renew diplomatic relations, which the United States had severed in 1961.